Fort Collins: Consultants Offer Affordable Housing Recommendations

Economic & Planning Systems (EPS) has released a housing affordability policy study for the City of Fort Collins Social Sustainability Department.  EPS says that the problems facing the City are “modest” at this point, noting that households with an income under $25,000 are struggling to find affordable housing.

Ideas suggested by EPS are also relatively minor, including building code changes to allow for “tiny” homes as are under construction in LaPorte, considering regulatory changes to encourage the development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), expanding the host permit program that allows one or two additional residents for 10 months at a time, allowing extra occupants in rental programs in specific rental zones, expanding the homebuyer assistance program, fee waivers for affordable housing and possibly developing properties owned in the City’s land bank program. In addition, the consultants recommend a general across the board analysis of policies and regulations and how they affect housing costs.

In terms of long-term strategies, EPS and City staff note that Fort Collins needs to find dedicated funding sources for affordable housing. (Although staff suggested that Longmont is poised to adopt a dedicated tax for this purpose, in reality that was just one recommendation that came out of a workforce housing task force several years ago and none of the recommendations have been adopted yet.) Interestingly, EPS does not recommend an inclusionary zoning program, noting, “the requirements would not carry substantial economic value for the City’s developers.”

On November 25th the Fort Collins City Council is scheduled to hold a work session on housing affordability. The EPS report is available here: http://www.fcgov.com/sustainability/pdf/UpdatedHAPSDraft.pdf

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